This past Saturday, we had a Screenwriting workshop at Eva Perry Library. Author and screenwriter Alex Sokoloff paid us a visit and spoke to a group of teen writers. We learned many of the basic rules about writing a screenplay.
1. Each page of a screenplay is one minute; a screenplay is made of 100-120 pages.
2. There are eight fifteen-minute sequences in a 2 hour movie.
3. A solid screenplay has three acts. The first two acts are usually 30 minutes a piece. The third act is usually shorter to make the story appear to quicken at the end.
4. The end of Act I usually means going into a magical place or a new location. For instance, in the Wizard of Oz, 30 minutes into the film, Dorothy steps out into Oz.
Her suggested exercise is to take a movie you love and watch it, stopping the DVD every 15 minutes. Decide what each sequence would be about. Then identify the three acts and the climax of each. Try it, and in the comments say what movie you watched and what you learned.